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How does American Pharoah’s fabulous long stride compare with other champions?
Blood-Horse magazine editor Evan Hammonds talked with scientific horse experts about American Pharoah’s long stride for a story called, “It’s in the gait.”
“You want something simple, American Pharoah has a nice, clean, really long stride.” says Jeff Seder, of EQB, a company that studies and rates the biometrics of horses. Ahmed Zayat is one of his clients.
But there’s more to it than that.
“Everything has to work together,” says Seder. “It’s like a symphony. If you just put the notes together, you get noise. It’s really how they are put together.”
Seder has a full file on Pharoah.
“The center of gravity on a horse like American Pharoah, or Secretariat, if you map it, it goes in a straight line,” the expert says. “In the average racehorse the center of gravity goes up and down. In a horse like American Pharoah it varies by a just a couple of centimeters. All that movement is going forward. It’s not wasted up and down.”
Bob Fiero, of Data Track International, measured American Pharoah’s stride at 25.87 feet this year at age three. He found Dortmund’s stride even longer at 26.62 feet as a two-year-old.
Here are some famous long-striders:
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Seder noted American Pharoah’s quarter mile “splits” in his Belmont, with each quarter mile run at just a shade over 24 seconds, for a final time of 2:26 3/5 – the third fastest Belmont ever to Secreatariat’s 2:24.
“He’s going about 55 feet per second,” Seder notes of Pharoah. “Even at that velocity he’s got about a 25-foot stride length on average in that time. He’s putting – versus the average racehorse – two feet more in every stride without any more effort …”
“The really good horses swing from the shoulder and the whole thing is just smooth. They are light on their feet. They are going faster than they look. Everything is just smooth.”
Well, that explains the effortless acceleration. It looks smooth because it is smooth. And so long.